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Bethany police chaplain killed when struck by van Thursday night

Bethany police chaplain Wally Renegar, 78, was a longtime pastor and Southern Nazarene University affiliate.
BY ROBERT MEDLEY Modified: January 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm •  Published: January 20, 2012

— A police chaplain and longtime Southern Nazarene University affiliate was struck by a van and killed Thursday night as he was leaving an SNU basketball game.

The duties of Bethany police chaplain Wally Renegar, 78, included counseling officers working on traumatic cases, most recently that of Carina Saunders, whose dismembered body was found in October.

Renegar had spent about an hour visiting with officers and Police Chief Phil Cole the day before he died.

“We're all just kind of in a state of shock,” Cole told reporters Friday morning at police headquarters.

Renegar was walking south across NW 39 Expressway about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to get to his car when he stepped off a median curb and was hit by the eastbound van. The driver of the van, a man in his 40s, was not injured nor cited for any wrongdoing, Cole said.

The accident was at Donald Avenue, just south of the SNU Sawyer Center where Renegar had been to the SNU women's basketball game. He was going home before the men's game to check on his ailing wife, Waulea, a friend said. The area where he was walking does not have crosswalk markings for pedestrians.

Renegar was a former Los Angeles County sheriff's chaplain, Cole said. Former Bethany Police Chief Neal Troutman recruited Renegar to serve as chaplain six years ago, Cole said.

“We have officers who are still officers today because he ministered to them after traumatic events,” Cole said. Renegar also worked with troubled children and was an active member of Bethany First Church of the Nazarene.

“He gave his entire life to the ministry of others,” Cole said. “Wally honored us every day of his life.”

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